ImageI have yet to find a really good application to monitor all traffic coming to/leaving from a Mac, but this one is close.

With Net Monitor Sidekick you just start the application, choose your network interface, and watch the traffic flow. The program offers a few preferences, but pretty much does as expected out of the box.

Right now, the program is in beta and can be downloaded free. Though there is a warning that the beta will expire on Mar 31, 2009.

You can down the application here.

ImageMac OS X has a great VPN server built into it. If you use the Server version, it provides a nice GUI to setting it up. Unfortunately, regular OS X doesn’t have that GUI. This is where iVPN comes is quite useful.

If you want to take advantage of the security that a VPN offers, iVPN makes it quite easy to setup a VPN. “All you have to do to set it up is to enter the user name and password that you want your VPN clients to use, the IP address range you want to give to your clients and then click start server. iVPN will handle all the other settings and start the VPN server.” Of course, this is especially useful if you have a Mac server that is always on and available at a static address.

iVPN is £14.99 and is available here.

ImageIf you’re reading this blog, you probably have a Mac server setup somewhere that requires your attention occasionally. For those of you with an iPhone, I hope to help you out.

Over on the Macminicolo.net site, I’ve put together a list of seven iPhone applications that I use every day to work with the Mac servers and IT work in general. You can read it here.

ImageThe other day, a customer asked me to setup an FTP account for his clients to use in uploading files to his machine. And while the built-in file serving of Leopard is nice, it’s not made for this sort of thing. For instance, creating a “Sharing Only” user account will only allow AFP and SMB connections.

PureFTPd is a free FTP server and PureFTPd manager is a nice Mac GUI to getting it installed and setting it up.

When you start the application, there are just a few general questions that are asked to help the setup. You can then create users, assign them to certain folders or directories.

There are plenty of options and it makes it real easy to have a powerful file server. The app is free from the developer’s site, though donations are appreciated.

ImageQuite a few of our customers use their Mac minis as central storage for a team of people in different locations. We hear from a lot of business owners who have been trying to run the server from their office, but just need more speed, reliability and security. They recognize that we can provide all three, but often they are concerned about having the machine out of the office where they can’t keep a close eye on the different versions of data. They want to make sure everyone is up to date.

This is where Changes will come in handy. Changes will keep multiple machines in sync with the latest versions of documents and projects. If you prefer something more manual, it also provides a quick way to text comparison using popular text editors.

This is also a great way to backup and update your website.

Changes is available for $39.95 and can be downloaded from the official site. (demo available)

ImageThe whole reason I had a jailbroken iPhone was to run VNSea. This let me control all of the Macs in our data center.

But when iPhone version 2.0 came out, I updated despite losing the VNSea client.

So you can imagine how happy I was to see VNC Mocha lite. It is a very well done VNC client that let’s you store multiple connections to control both Macs and PCs. It has a real nice interface that let’s you scroll around the remote screen, use a mouse cursor, and pop up a QWERTY keyboard for use. Just set up your Mac server for Screen Sharing and off you go.

And it is also free. (They’ll be releasing a $5.99 version later that has a few more options.)

To learn more about the app, visit here. Or you can drop straight to the iTunes App Store to download it here. (iTunes Link)

ImageGolden%Braebrun is the licensing backend for Delicious Library. It allows for customers to pay for Mac software seamlessly.

Wil Shipley, the creator of Delicious Library, is now making this framework available for other software developers. The back end is run on a Mac server and the front end is built right into your application.

Golden%Braeburn is in it’s last stages of testing, but you can sign up now to use the app when it’s ready. For a modest percentage of charges, you get stability, ease and security on your Mac software licensing.

ImageThis one isn’t directly connected to running a server, but it’s incredibly useful for those that are on the move quite often. (And those who are on the move quite often usually have servers, so there’s my justification.)

Most of my internet time is spent at my house, my office, or the data center. In all three places I have static ip’s for port forwarding, etc. For each spot, I have a “Location” setup on my MacBook Air. I got tired of manually changing the location each time I moved around so I went searching and I found Locamatic.

Locamatic is a preference pane that will automatically change your Location based on whatever network your Airport card joins.

I’ve had it setup for a week now and it’s worked flawlessly switching me between locations.

If this sounds useful, you can it here for free.

ImageNagios is an open source program that can be installed on a server to check on other servers. For instance, you could have it check that sites are up, services are running, an machines are pinging. And if it doesn’t find those things, it can send an email or an SMS so you know about it.

Macworld just posted a great article on this Nagios called, “Installing Nagios on Mac OS X 10.5 Server.”

They also pointed to a nice community where plug-ins are shared called Nagios Exchange.

You can download Nagios here.

ImageI’ve been happy to move from cron to launchd for automating tasks. Lingon has become incredibly useful in this transition.

“Lingon is a graphical user interface for creating an editing launchd configuration files for Mac OS X Leopard 10.5. You can use launchd on a Mac to launch scripts and applications whenever something special happens or at a specific time or periodically. You get all launchd configuration files in a list to the left so you can easily see all and choose which one to edit.

Editing a configuration file is easier than ever in this version and it has two different modes. Basic Mode which has the most common settings readily available in a very simple interface and Expert Mode where you can add all settings either directly in the text or insert them through a menu.”

You can get your free copy of Lingon here.

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